In a work­shop pri­or to the SURPRISE FACTORS SYMPOSIUM, stu­dents from var­i­ous dis­ci­plines dis­cussed this year’s top­ic. Three of them joined the dis­cus­sion at the SYMPOSIUM as this year’s YOUNG ACADEMIA and con­tributed their ideas with the per­spec­tive of a young generation.

Education, Innovation, Failure Management and Focus

As YOUNG ACADEMIA it is our spe­cial con­cern to make the inter­ests and ideas of a young gen­er­a­tion heard. From this per­spec­tive, espe­cial­ly the fol­low­ing four points that were dis­cussed in the course of the sym­po­sium seem to be key ele­ments for the future of Upper Aus­tria. In order to fol­low the path “From Good to Great”, Upper Aus­tria has to evolve con­stant­ly. A stand­still would be fatal:

  • Edu­ca­tion: Espe­cial­ly in a region like Upper Aus­tria with few nat­ur­al resources, in which “human cap­i­tal” can be con­sid­ered the most impor­tant resource of all, invest­ing in edu­ca­tion – either in the form of voca­tion­al train­ing, aca­d­e­m­ic stud­ies, con­tin­u­ing train­ing or the like – are of piv­otal impor­tance. It is essen­tial to pro­mote the cre­ativ­i­ty of young peo­ple and to find the right bal­ance between pres­sure to per­form on the one hand and cre­ative free­dom on the oth­er. Such a bal­ance will ulti­mate­ly have a pos­i­tive impact on the wel­fare of young peo­ple. After all, only hap­py employ­ees will ensure the best pos­si­ble work and promise a long-last­ing suc­cess for a company.
  • Inno­va­tion: If Aus­tria in gen­er­al and Upper Aus­tria in par­tic­u­lar want to suc­ceed in the glob­al com­pe­ti­tion, the coun­try needs high­ly qual­i­fied work­ers and inno­va­tors as well as research and work­ing con­di­tions, that allow the attain­ment of excel­lence. There­fore and in addi­tion to a sus­tained invest­ment in research and devel­op­ment, not only an excel­lence edu­ca­tion for the local peo­ple is nec­es­sary but also shap­ing Upper Aus­tria to become an attrac­tive region for work­force from abroad is of great importance.
  • Fail­ure Man­age­ment: All too often, young entre­pre­neurs who fail with a project are stig­ma­tized and dis­crim­i­nat­ed against in eco­nom­ic, social and legal terms. To pro­mote inno­va­tion we have to get away from our “error-pick­ing cul­ture” that inhibits inno­va­tion. In turn we have to allow young peo­ple to take risks and to make mis­takes. We have to give young peo­ple a chance: start­ing with reduc­ing bureau­cra­cy for start-ups, pro­vid­ing alter­na­tive financ­ing and devel­op­ing a cul­ture, where mis­takes are seen as learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and young people’s voic­es are heard.
  • Focus: A sys­tem that sup­ports all sec­tors the same will quick­ly reach its capac­i­tive lim­its. As a com­par­a­tive­ly small region, Upper Aus­tria there­fore has to focus on its eco­nom­ic strengths and con­cen­trate on a few nich­es in order to be suc­cess­ful on a glob­al scale with out­stand­ing peo­ple and their achieve­ments and prod­ucts. There­fore, it is even more impor­tant to iden­ti­fy and specif­i­cal­ly pro­mote those areas that have the great­est poten­tial for development.

To go from „good to great“, these four points are, in our view, of enor­mous impor­tance for Upper Aus­tria. More­over, it is our spe­cial con­cern to strength­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty for young peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in order to bet­ter rep­re­sent their inter­ests. On the oth­er hand it seems very impor­tant to us that new leg­isla­tive pro­pos­als will be eval­u­at­ed with spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tion of their impact on future gen­er­a­tions. Only this way can a pos­i­tive devel­op­ment of Upper Aus­tria be ensured that is eco­nom­i­cal­ly, polit­i­cal­ly, cul­tur­al­ly, and social­ly sustainable.


  • Thomas Böh­ler, BA, Inter­na­tion­al Busi­ness, Uni­ver­si­ty of Vienna
  • Lam­bert Neu­mayr, BSc, Master’s Pro­gram in Strat­e­gy, Inno­va­tion, Man­age­ment Con­trol, Vien­na Uni­ver­si­ty of Eco­nom­ics and Business
  • Cari­na Pos­ner, Busi­ness Man­age­ment Mar­ket­ing, Brands and Media, Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sci­ences, Cam­pus M21, Munich